E Tū and First Union say workers of wood processing plant JNL in Gisborne are devastated at the company's proposal to axe almost 100 jobs, as part of the company's move to change its product line.
"It's obvious shock, for workers, it's news that they weren't expecting and no one looks forward to, there is a mixture of feelings they're absorbing it and we've had a couple of people express anger about it," says E tū organiser Norm Mauritsen.
JNL has told employees demand for its plywood in Japan - its main export market, had dropped and it wants to focus on making more high-value wood products that will still be made in Gisborne.
"At the meetings held yesterday the company emphasised a number of times that they were the only people that could speak on behalf on JNL and advised workers not to talk to the media, we think that's a wee bit over the top," says Robert Reid of FIRST Union.
Consultations with workers have been underway since the announcement and will go for two weeks.
"The best scenario is that we can turn some of those proposed jobs around get the company to listen to us and what we can do to change their proposal that may not be something that we can do," says Mauritsen.
The company has been in operation since 1994 and says it will consider all feedback before making any final decisions.